From School Library Journal
Grade 1-4–Meena, an American girl of East Indian descent, constantly stumbles, trips, and knocks things over, causing herself terrible humiliation. As her class prepares to put on a play, she cringes. She doesn't want to participate, fearful that she will embarrass herself in front of a large audience. While shopping at the Indian grocer with her mother, she notices a yoga class in session at the back of the store. The shopkeeper, Auntie, encourages the girl to sign up for a new children's class, and Meena hesitantly agrees. At first she is extremely awkward, but with encouragement from Auntie and practice, Meena learns to breathe more deeply and move more carefully. She survives the school play without calamity and all is well. Jeyaveeran's folksy, acrylic paintings, done in warm tones, depict children of many ethnicities. The story presents the ubiquitous problem of clumsiness with warmth and veracity. Meena's difficulties are not overcome quickly and yoga is introduced in a nonintrusive way. Krishnaswami occasionally dabs the text with Hindi words and expressions, adding a delightful Indian flavor. An excellent addition to any collection.–Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
PreS-Gr. 2. Meena is excited about the class play, a "new and improved version" of Red Riding Hood. But after spilling paint on the set, she feels too clumsy to participate. Her teacher talks her into a part as a tree, but Meena stumbles during rehearsals, cementing her view of herself as uncoordinated and bumbling. Then, while shopping at the Indian market with her mother, she spots a yoga class for kids and signs up. She practices the postures and gradually gains confidence, and on the play's opening night, she uses what she has learned to play the perfect, grounded tree. Some of the messages about yoga's benefits are a bit purposeful: "If I am quiet inside, my body will be still. That's what yoga is really about." And a few figures in the acrylic illustrations appear stilted. Still, the balanced compositions and bright colors nicely echo the warm, encouraging story about overcoming challenges, while the well-integrated details of Meena's Indian culture, including a few terms, are rare and welcome in books for this age group. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved